Jazz on the Great Ouse – 2018 Programme

Following the success of last year’s Jazz on the Great Ouse Cruises the John Bunyan Boat Team are pleased to announce the programme for 2018.

The cruises are run in association with Olney Jazz Club, Conscia Jazz and The Barns Hotel and feature top national and local jazz musicians.

Thursday April 19thJulian Stringle Trio featuring – Julian Stringle (clarinet, sax) Alan Haughton (piano) Bobby Orr (drums)

Thursday May 17thMike Kemp Trio featuring Mike Kemp (piano) Ian Hill (sax) Geoff Tooley (bass)

Thursday June 21st  – Exall/Roberts Trio featuring Richard Exall (sax/clarinet) Amy Roberts (flute & reeds)  Neil Riches (piano)

Thursday July 19thRachel and Friends featuring Rachel Hickey (vocals) Bill Meredith (piano) Nigel Emerton (double bass)

Thursday August 16thBen Holder (violin) Alan Haughton (piano) Tomas Pedersen (bass)

Thursday September 20thFrank Griffith Trio featuring Frank Griffith (sax/clarinet) Alan Haughton (piano) – Tomas Pedersen (bass)

Thursday October 18thTom Syson Trio featuring Tom Syson of Conscia Jazz on trumpet with Edwin Ireland (double bass) Jacky Naylor (keyboards)

The  two hour cruises leave from the moorings at The Barns Hotel, Cardington Road, Bedford boarding at 7.15pm.

A 3 course Pre-cruise dinner  can be booked in advance from The Barns Hotel (01234 270044). Drinks are available from the Riverside Tavern Bar.

Drinks and snacks are available on board the John Bunyan Boat and a Fish & Chip Supper price £8 can be booked in advance.

Tickets priced £20.00 can be booked via the website: www. Johnbunyanboat.org or by phone on: 01946 690 301

Alan Haughton studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he performed both solo and concerto concerts in the Dukes Hall. He has held various teaching posts and was Deputy Head at Hazeldene School, Bedford for many years. He also taught jazz and classical piano at Bedford High School. He now just concentrates on performing and runs the Olney Jazz Club. Alan is an established composer/performer and has had over sixty albums of music published by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Kevin Mayhew Publishers and Oxford University Press. In addition to his classical work he has been musical director for Annie Get Your Gun, Cabaret, No, No, Nanette and Blood Brothers. He is an established jazz pianist having worked with John Dankworth, the Terry Lightfoot Band, The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, The Krupa Connection, Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends, Richard Exall, Amy Roberts, Roy Williams, Alan Barnes, Denise Gordon, Simon Spillett, Greg Abate, Tina May to name but a few, as well as running his own band.

Richard Exall has worked with most of the established big bands and has become a regular name in the vintage jazz fraternity playing regularly with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra and the Charleston Chasers. Richard became a regular member of the Big Chris Barber Band in 2004, leaving at the end of 2014 to focus on his own career.

More recently, Richard has worked with Kenny Ball and toured with American pianist Johnny Varro’s Swing Seven throughout Germany and Switzerland, and runs his own band “Richard Exall’s Shooting Stars” which is a favourite at jazz clubs and festivals. Other recent projects include “The Krupa Connection”; a trio dedicated to the music of Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. “The Magnificent Seven”; a hard-core swing/latin, traditional/mainstream band formed from the top players on the jazz scene today. “Sugar Ray’s Lucky Strikes”, Jackson Sloan and The Rhythm Tones, and the award winning Amy Roberts/Richard Exall Quintet.

Amy Roberts was the first female musician to join the Big Chris Barber Band. Amy has performed with the London Swing Orchestra, Pete Long’s Echoes of Ellington, Keith Nichols Blue Devils Orchestra, Harry Strutters Rhythm Orchestra and many others. The Richard Exall/Amy Roberts Quintet has released their album, “Why Not?” to critical acclaim.

Mike Kemp is a straight-ahead, jazz pianist, inspired to take up piano on hearing Billy Kyle with Louis Armstrong’s band at the first live jazz concert he attended in 1956. He’s played at Festivals and clubs over Europe, Morocco, Scandinavia and the USA.   Mike’s repertoire is mostly drawn from what has become known as The Great American Songbook, i.e. Cole Porter, Harry Warren, George Gershwin etc. He’s also a composer and arranger with albums to his credit. Although he works comfortably in settings from solo to big band he’s probably best known these days for leading his classic New York trio line-up of piano, double bass and drums or, as on the cruise,  piano, double bass and sax.

Ian Hill gained an MA in popular music from Liverpool University and has been teaching and performing for 20 years. He continues to have a great time as a saxophonist and songwriter and is a very in demand by bands as the go-to saxophonist.

Geoff Tooley is a well-known guitar maestro but he is equally at home on the banjo, electric bass, vocals and, here with the Mike Kemp Trio, on the double bass. A professional musician, he has played with countless bands at countless venues as well as teaching guitar at Rugby School. It’s great to see him join us on the John Bunyan boat.

Neil Riches is a jazz piano wizard with a great technique and equally great powers of melodic improvisation. He is best-known for his work with the Cool Jazz Collective and he joins us on the John Bunyan Boat with Amy Roberts and Richard Exall to create a powerhouse trio not to be missed.

Tom Syson was born in Leicester in 1993, and moved to Bedfordshire when he was 5. At the age of 8 he was under the tutelage of local trumpet teacher Mike Lock. After moving up into the local upper school, he was taught by American trumpet player Brant Tilds, who helped introduce him to jazz and the theory behind it. At the age of 16, Tom started to attend the National Youth Jazz Orchestra’s second band under Paul Eshleby before moving up into the main band a year later.

Tom was granted a place on the prestigious BMus Jazz Course at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He acquired the lead trumpet chair in the Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra and The Tom Haines Jazz Orchestra, as well as regularly playing lead in the Birmingham Jazz Orchestra founded by Hans Kollar and Sean Gibbs. Tom graduated the BMus Hons Jazz course in the summer of 2015, leaving with a First-Class degree. Tom has been lucky enough to play with a number of high profile jazz musicians, such as Jacqui Dankworth, Osian Roberts, Frank Griffith, Ian Shaw, Dudley Phillips, Chris Allard and many more.

Edwin Ireland learnt the cello from the age of seven, Edwin picked up the bass guitar at 13 and soon began playing regularly in various projects in and around his hometown of Bedford. At 18, he began studying at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and three years later achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Performance on the bass guitar.

After a year spent establishing himself as a performer and teacher, Edwin enrolled onto the Guildhall Jazz Masters course during which he has studied electric and upright bass under the likes of Laurence Cottle and Geoff Gascoyne. He now lives in London and teaches for several music services alongside working as a freelance bassist.

Jacky Naylor is a jazz pianist, composer and arranger based in Birmingham. In 2012, he was awarded a Leverhulme Scholarship to study on the bespoke Jazz course at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Since an early age, Big band music has been a major influence and source of inspiration to Jacky and his music, and in 2015, he won the Birmingham Conservatoire Composition and Arranging Prize with his arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s Rhythm-a-ning, performed by the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalist Judy Niemack. Over the next year Jacky continued to study, analyse and hone his big band compositional approaches and techniques and completed his debut big band album Rough Boundaries, which was performed and recorded by Birmingham Jazz Orchestra. The album was launched at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and The Vortex, London and has received critical acclaim and 4 star reviews across the board. 

In addition, Jacky also reached the semi-final stage of BBC Young Jazz Musician 2016, supported Jason Rebello (Sting/Jeff Beck) at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and gained first class honours in his Bachelor of Music (hons) Degree from Birmingham Conservatoire. 

Rachel Hickey has been singing since childhood and is classically trained.  After playing her part in many musicals she began to sing with a local big band directed by Nigel Carter, lead trumpeter with the BBC Big Band, and developed her jazz skills over the coming years. Rachel is a favourite performer on the John Bunyan Boat.

She now stars regularly with Rachel and friends, a five-piece combo which performs everything from jazz standards to more modern items, as well as continuing her interest with the Silsoe Drama Club where the band played the part of “house band” at an event where the village hall was transformed into a convincing night club.

Bobby Orr has played drums extensively around the country.  He was drummer for the Terry Lightfoot Band and played with top musicians such as Bruce Adams, Frank Griffith, John Critchinson, Gilad Azmon and Simon Spillett.  He was also drummer for the Mainline Big Band and performs regularly as part of Alan Haughton’s band.

Bill Meredith started playing with his first jazz group aged 17, and probably spent more time at university playing piano than studying.  After university he worked professionally in Germany and back in Liverpool, and has continued to do so ever since in Cumbria and London, where he was lucky to play with many professional musicians and in some important venues from local clubs to the foyer of the National Theatre.

Since moving to Bedford in 1990, he has continued to play with local big bands, jazz combos, rock bands and more.  Bill writes most of the arrangements for Rachel & Friends.

Nigel Emerton has over the past 25 years earned his position as one of the premier double bass players in the area. As a teenager, Nigel played for both the Luton Youth Jazz Orchestra and the County Youth Jazz Orchestra, playing at the Royal Albert Hall on many occasions. Between 1982-92 Nigel was part of the Big Band ‘Page 3’, named this way as the band rehearsed in the Sun Hotel, Hitchin. The band toured the UK and Europe playing the great music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington that Nigel loves. Also, during the 80’s Nigel toured extensively with Chico Arnez providing him further valuable experience.

Nigel was also a mainstay of a great 9-piece function band called ‘Aries’. The band was together for 20 years, specialising in covers of songs from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.

In recent times Nigel has played with ‘5 Star Swing’ and the big band formerly directed by Nigel Carter (of the BBC Big Band), as well as with Rachel and friends.  He also plays with the Luton Symphony Orchestra and is in regular demand for local musical productions.

Ben Holder is one of the most gifted and exciting young jazz violinists in the UK. Taught classically from the age of six, he studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire. During his classical studies, Ben began listening to Jazz – classic masters such as Benny Goodman and Oscar Peterson and of course the great jazz violinists including Grappelli, Joe Venuti and the awe inspiring Stuff Smith. Alongside his early studies and later at college he embarked on a detailed analysis of these musicians techniques and the way in which they merged this most classical of instruments into the jazz idiom.  Ben’s innate sense of swing rhythm (something which often eludes classical players) stems from those early listening sessions – and his various awards bear testimony to his abilities. A first call jazz violinist for many of the North’s top bands and studios.”

Tomas Pedersen started playing double-bass in 1971 when he studied classical bass in Denmark. After only one year of hard practice he joined the Danish Radio Youth Symphony Orchestra.  At this point his interest in Jazz grew and he began playing in Jazz Clubs all over Denmark and Scandinavia with leading Danish bands.

In 1977 he went to sea playing on board cruise ships – travelling all over the world, playing shows, jazz and light classical music. At this time Tomas also had the opportunity to accompany several great American Jazz artists such as Mel Thorme, Joe Williams, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan.

Tomas moved to England in 1991 and soon got busy playing a great variety of music from Big Band, Swing, Mainstream, Traditional Jazz and also some Pop, Rock, Blues and Soul.

Frank Griffith was born in Eugene, Oregon in 1959, Frank lived in New York City from 1980-1995. While there he worked with Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks and Jack McDuff and played lead alto with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a nationwide tour in 1984. He has also worked with the orchestras of Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich and Mel Torme. He has recorded with guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli on his CD’s All Of Me and Naturally. In addition to his leading and writing for big bands of various sizes, Frank has organised and curated two String Quartet Festivals at Pizza Express, Soho in 2014 and 2015. These events featured well known acts like Liane Carroll, Gwilym Simcock, Empirical, Gilad Atzmon, The London Vocal Project, Julian Stringle and Tina May with a resident string quartet. Frank has been working regularly with vocalist Tina May since 2013 and has provided arrangements for her two CDs on the Hepjazz label- Divas (2013) and My Kinda Love (2014). He has also appeared twice with Tina on the BBC, the first of which in April 2014 on Radio 3’s In Tune programme and again on Clare Teal’s Sunday night R2 show in October 2014. It’s great to have Frank on board.